While signing one of the most conservative immigration reform packages in the country, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took aim at the Biden administration’s handling of the fentanyl epidemic.
50 to 100 times stronger than heroine, fentanyl is responsible for tens of thousands of overdose deaths every year, according to the CDC.
“It’s all coming across the border. It’s all being run by the drug cartels,” DeSantis said at a bill signing ceremony in Jacksonville.
All this week, Fox 4 Investigates has been bringing you in-depth reports from the front lines of the fight against fentanyl.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, last year in Florida authorities seized enough fentanyl to kill 9 million people in the Sunshine State.
“What you’re getting from your doctor is pharmaceutical grade fentanyl. What people are getting on the street is not. It’s mixed in a lab in Mexico in the jungle,” said Deanne Reuter, Special Agent in Charge at the DEA’s Miami Field Office.
This spring, the state legislature passed several bills designed to combat the fentanyl epidemic.
“It's sad to see the mothers who have lost children as a result of fentanyl overdose,” DeSantis said.
“This has taken a big toll on our country and Florida is fighting back.”
One bill signed by the governor last week would allow prosecutors to seek life in prison for drug dealers who sell fentanyl packaged like candy.
“We’re throwing the book at them if they’re going after our children,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis argued a multi-pronged approach is needed to combat fentanyl, including more treatment, harsher criminal penalties and better education.